Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans race scrapped

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The Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race have been cancelled again because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia's two top cycling events were due to return early next year, but event organisers have announced they will not go ahead.

The two races did not go ahead this year, with border restrictions and quarantine rules making it too hard to bring in overseas riders and team support staff.

The Adelaide Tour announced its cancellation on Thursday morning and the Cadel Evans race, which starts and finishes in Geelong, was called off hours later.

Organisers have made the call a month earlier than last year.

Also on Thursday, national governing body AusCycling said the January 12-16 national road championships in Ballarat will go ahead as planned.

The Adelaide and Geelong events normally are held after the nationals.

Events SA executive director Hitaf Rasheed said they had explored all avenues before cancelling the Tour Down Under and the women's Tour.

"Unfortunately in the end it was the border closures and quarantine requirements for more than 400 people that make up the international teams that proved to still be too difficult to overcome," Rasheed said.

Adelaide's Festival Of Cycling, a domestic event covering a wide range of disciplines, will go ahead on January 21-29 in its place.

The Tour Down Under is the season-opening event for the men's WorldTour and the women's UCI ProTour.

It started in 1999 and has grown into a major SA tourism event.

Rasheed said its most recent edition in 2020 attracted 44,000 visitors, generated 742 jobs and brought more than $66 million into the state's economy.

Once the Tour Down Under was called off, the Cadel Evans race was also doomed for next year because international teams start their seasons in Adelaide and then head to Geelong.

Visit Victoria chief executive Brendan McClements said they hope to hold an international cycling event later next year.

AusCycling chief executive Marne Fechner urged all cycling enthusiasts to be vaccinated.

''Unlike 2020, we know what's required for a sustainable return to competitive and recreational cycling, and that's high vaccination rates," she said.

''So, let's make sure today's disappointments are amongst the last that we have to endure.

"Getting vaccinated will not only allow us to enjoy the many, many events we have planned for next year but will reunite families, get kids back to school and revive businesses.

''It will also give our elite riders the very best chance to test themselves at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Road World Championships in Wollongong.''

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